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One year ago this weekend, I gave birth to a blog and named her Angelina Carrera.  The gestation period was ridiculously long — at least three years. Time to celebrate!

Growth has been steadily measured in numbers gathered day by day, month by month, via web stats in WordPress.

I’d like to commemorate this anniversary by providing a glimpse into some statistics and  sharing a few behind-the-scenes secrets:

  • 365 days.
  • 22 posts
  • 200 photos.
  • Over 2600 views from 57 countries.
  • Countless extracurricular hours.
  • Much encouragement. Many accolades.

One heart —  full of gratitude and appreciation.

Very First Post: What’s in a Name?

Jodie Angelina Carrera

Jodie Angelina Carrera – What’s in a Name? (Archived in July 2012)

Secret: A friend of mine inspired me to ignore self-doubt and get down to the business of publishing the story of why I changed my name to Angelina Carrera.  She and I met last year in a photography class and hit it off instantly. My tale resonated with her.

Her response reminded me of the excitement I felt years ago after receiving the official document in the mail containing my brand new name.  So, a woman I hardly knew, unknowingly triggered the DNA of my first post, What’s In A Name? Thanks, C-L.

Most Popular Post:  The Hunks of Huntington Beach, CA

The Hunks of Huntington Beach, CA

The Hunks of Huntington Beach, CA (Archived in September 2012)

Secret: This post was a fluke. I happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right lens — a long one — photographing a group of surfers while I was on vacation in Huntington Beach, CA.

To this day, The Hunks of Huntington Beach, CA is the most-viewed and most-often-searched of any post I’ve published — including the one about CATS!

(We’ll get to that later).

Best Writing Experience: Gone Snap Happy! and Flirting with Valentino; Going Home  With Versace

Gone Snap Happy!

Gone Snap Happy! (Archived in July 2012)

Flirting with Valentino; Going Home with Versace

Flirting with Valentino; Going Home with Versace (Archived in March 2013)

Secret: I LOVED writing and organizing these two posts for the sheer joy of working ‘a la Carrie Bradshaw” — in a cafe — just me, my laptop and a frothy hot chocolate.

With Gone Snap Happy!,  I spent the afternoon in a Los Angeles Starbucks writing about Toronto.

For Flirting with Valentino; Going Home with Versace, I spent the evening in Toronto’s Artisano’s Cafe writing about Los Angeles!

Am I the only one who thinks this dichotomy is cool??

Introducing Monsieur:  Must Love Dogs

Must Love Dogs

Must Love Dogs (Archived in August 2012)

Secret: I first introduced Monsieur in Must Love Dogs and refer to him in the following posts:  I Love, Therefore I Take Photos — Part II, Seven Feline Longevity Laws and Valentino/Versace The references are occasional and leave him mostly unidentifiable. During my foray as a published author, Monsieur and I discussed how I would preserve his anonymity in posts where it was essential to the story to actually mention his existence.

We decided to come up with a nickname for him should my life suddenly become that of a World Famous Blogger. We honored his masculinity and French Canadian roots with the moniker Monsieur. In any post that even whispers his presence, no matter how peripheral, we agreed this is the name I would use.

Evidently we both suffer from delusions of grandeur. ‘Nuff said.

Closest To My Heart:   Unlikely Inheritance — The Bird Gene

Unlikely Inheritence -- The Bird Gene

Unlikely Inheritence — The Bird Gene (Archived in November 2012)

Secret: My brother and I shared a moment because of this post. Unlikely Inheritance — The Bird Gene is about a memory of my father who was fascinated by birds, and photographed them endlessly. I share the same trait, hence the inheritance.

My brother wrote to tell me that my recollection brought back memories for him, too.  In a rare display of sentiment, he expressed gratitude for our family pointing out that we are “as much relatives as we are friends”. He encouraged me to continue writing, saying that reading my posts helped him gain insight into me and our relationship.

Before you conclude that I’ve betrayed a confidence — I haven’t. His beautiful comment, and my response, appears under Comments in What’s In a Name?.

Biggest Disappointment:  Seven Feline Longevity Laws

Seven Feline Longevity Laws

Seven Feline Longevity Laws (Archived in October 2012)

Secret: Imagine my dejection when, after posting Seven Feline Longevity Laws —  which is about cats in general, and MY cats in particular  — it didn’t go viral. In fact, it didn’t even catch a cold!!

C’mon! They’re cats! And they’re adorable! See them up there sharing a ‘bunk bed’?

I’m biased, but c’mon! Next time I’ll post a video of the two of them ‘cat-boxing’ or Simba drinking from the bathroom faucet….yes, it’s all been done before but maybe video is the key to going viral)

The Post Where I Learned The Most:  Fenestration (yes, it’s a word)

Fenestration (yes, it's a word)

Fenestration (yes, it’s a word)   (Archived in April 2013)

Secret: One of my friends, a lawyer in Washington DC, read Fenestration (yes, it’s a word) and commented on a reference I made to defenestration — the act of throwing something or someone out the window.

He gave me a link to the Defenestration of Prague which describes the conflict hundreds of years ago that led to members of town council and a judge being tossed out the window — events which also precipitated the Thirty Years’ War.

I’m always fascinated by the way a post develops. I began this one with only a vague idea of the best way to showcase my photos of pretty windows.

I ended up with a mini-education in architectural design, and a history lesson on the Defenestration of Prague. This was definitely the post where I learned the most!

Weirdest Post: A Tale of Two Sunrises

Secret: I got out of bed before dawn on a Saturday morning two days before New Year’s Eve, in pitch darkness in the middle of a blizzard, and drove to the lake to take pictures of birds.  (I’m exhausted just thinking about it).

It’s obvious I’m a bit of a loon myself. But look at the wild-and-woolly abstract I captured in A Tale of Two Sunrises!

A Tale of Two Sunrises

A Tale of Two Sunrises (Dec. 29, 2012)  (Archived in February 2013)

A Tale of Two Sunrises

A Tale of Two Sunrises (Dec. 30, 2012)  (Archived in February 2013)

I HAD to return at sunrise the next morning to prove what a difference a day makes.

In sub-zero temperatures, I was fuelled by my own curiosity of what it would be like to stand in the exact same place, 24 hours after the storm, witnessing a vastly different view of the world.

This, in fact, is life. And that’s why I posted it.

Least Popular Post:  Venice Beach, CA — Kumbaya!!

Venice Beach, CA -- Kumbaya!!

Venice Beach, CA — Kumbaya!!  (Archived in May 2013)

Secret: The fact that Venice Beach, CA — Kumbaya!! is decidedly my least popular post is a little ironic.

It’s ironic because Venice Beach is where I bought my lucky “writing scarf”.

You see, my bright orange talisman is supposed to ward off writer’s block, inertia, bad writing, and the like, because it’s imbued with the free-minded spirit and bohemian lifestyle of Venice Beach where everyone is in their happy place and ideas flow like water.

Where else on Earth except Venice Beach can I justify this kind of thinking without someone accusing me of being high?

I plucked the scarf from a bin of $12 dollar discounts and declared it to possess these mystical powers. And so it does. I wear it (almost) every time I write and I haven’t missed a self-imposed deadline yet.

As for bad writing……wait! Where’s my scarf??

Scene on Queen: Top 3 Posts:

River Trading Company -- Mainly Books (and sometimes cats!)  Archived in February 2013

River Trading Company — Mainly Books (and sometimes cats!)  (Archived in Feb. 2013)

The Painted Table -- Queen and Ronscesvalles

The Painted Table — (is that a wedding dress in the window??) – (Archived in April 2013)

Modern day Dorothy and Toto!!

Modern-day Dorothy and Toto!! (Archived in June 2013)

10 Countries That Yielded The Most Readership:

  1. Canada
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Russian Federation
  5. Italy
  6. Germany
  7. Australia
  8. Philippines
  9. Netherlands
  10. Ireland.

While Angelina Carrera isn’t a statistical success, she grows everyday and the fun factor is off the charts!

Maybe by the time Angelina reaches the “terrible-two’s” the stats might not be so terrible.

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Upcoming post: No clue. (Shall I consult my writing scarf?)